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Products for grant AKB-260492-18

Situating Chemical Elements in the Human World to Innovate Undergraduate Education
Pamela Smart, SUNY Research Foundation, Binghamton

Grant details:

Materials Matter: Humanities and STEM Work together in Innovative Program (Blog Post)
Title: Materials Matter: Humanities and STEM Work together in Innovative Program
Author: Valerie Imbruce
Abstract: A brief account of Materials Matter
Date: 01/18/2019
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Blog for the Arts and Humanities Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research
Blog Title: The Arts and Humanities Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CURAH) blog
Website: The Arts and Humanities Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CURAH) blog

Syllabus for Materials Matter (Course or Curricular Materials)
Title: Syllabus for Materials Matter
Author: Pamela Smart
Author: Hilary Becker
Author: Louis Piper
Author: Mark Poliks
Author: Valerie Imbruce
Abstract: Course outline and class schedule
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This URL is a link to our syllabus on Google Drive. I would be glad to upload the document itself, if that is possible.
Audience: Undergraduate

“Materials Matter: Exploring ancient pigments in the classroom,” (Book Section)
Title: “Materials Matter: Exploring ancient pigments in the classroom,”
Author: Hilary Becker
Author: Todd Rutkowski
Author: Gohkan Ersan
Author: Mark Poliks
Author: Louis Piper
Author: Mariah Postlewait
Author: Lynn Schmitt
Author: Joshua Young
Author: Pamela Smart
Author: Valerie Imbruce
Editor: M. V. Orna
Editor: S.C. Rasmussen
Abstract: Materials Matter, a new course at Binghamton University, draws chemistry and physics into conversation with archaeology, art history, and the history of science through an interdisciplinary focus on a particular class of materials—pigments. In its first iteration, co-taught by an archaeologist and a physicist, instruction focused upon all aspects of pigments, considering why pigments have color, their atomic bonding, ancient prices of pigments, and even how innovations in pigments influenced other industries, etc. Class sessions stress humanities research methodologies alongside the quantitative and experimental methods of STEM fields, offering students insights into the process and modes of research early in their college career. Students made frescoes themselves to understand the chemical processes behind the creation of art, and made acrylic paints, while varying different additives, to understand the significance of each ingredient in the process. Students also learned how materials may be studied with experimental techniques such as x-ray fluorescence, x-ray diffraction, multispectral imaging, and electron microscopy, by analyzing pigments and artworks in Binghamton University’s Art Museum and in the Analytical and Diagnostics Laboratory. This chapter will also highlight the work of our graphic designer collaborator whose work for Materials Matter is driven by the overarching goal of communicating complex chemical processes by utilizing an integrative visual language. To this end, a graphical framework have been designed to bring into view all aspects of this course in a scalar manner, from the atomic level to the socio-cultural level, so that students can visually map the entire humanistic-scientific domain of one material as we focus upon it different ways. An interactive student app was developed that integrates the various elements of this course using a scalar framework, in order to supplement lecture material and to provide interactive lab assignments.
Year: 2019
Access Model: print publication currently in production
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Book Title: Archaeological Chemistry: A Multidisciplinary Analysis of the Past.